Skip to main content

Hold the health care reform, the war must go on


     A fruit vendor waits for customers at a street market in Kabul, Afghanistan,
Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi)

Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union" with John King today, seized the opportunity afforded him by Obama's long awaited and soon to be announced plan to escalate the conflict in Afghanistan and called for a halt to the health care debate so Congress could devote its time to the war and how to pay for it.

Although not shown in this portion of the video provided by CNN, Lugar said that, "The war is terribly important," and went on to recommend that health care reform be put on hold until next year.  And that's the problem in this country, and has been for the past eight years and counting.  

"The war is terribly important," says Lugar. What a statement. It is terribly important, but not in the sense he intended.  We get ourselves into one horrible mess after another, waging perpetual war for no good reason, and the rest of the nation's business is held hostage to the stupidity of those leaders who commit us to this madness, who put us in these quagmires that we cannot escape from.

And the Republicans gloat about it, as if these wars serve some noble purpose, that they must always come before the real problems and crises that we face as a nation. What irony. There are no words to describe our self-defeating and self-destructive foreign policy.  Urgent national and global priorities such as health care, energy and global warming must always take a backseat to the current war of choice in the name of national security, a buzz word that arouses American passions like no other, except possibly "socialism."

So let China take the lead in the 21st century, let them lead us out of this energy crisis as they finally understand that burning coal and oil will destroy the planet within a century, if we don't run out of it first and start warring over the remaining fossil fuels. Because somebody has to. It's that important.

Ironically, Obama, by seriously escalating the war in Afghanistan, has given the Republicans the ammunition they need to snuff the life out of his domestic programs.  Once you juxtapose war and peace in this country, it's no contest.  It's war every time.  How's that for shooting yourselves in the foot, Democrats? Now they all have to come on board the war wagon, lest they be seen as weak on defense.

Perhaps I am being too pessimistic and too cynical.  Perhaps Obama will surprise us on Tuesday night with a well conceived plan that gets us out of Afghanistan in the same way we are withdrawing from Iraq (although don't hold your breath on that one).  But I won't bet on it.  I'm guessing we're in for the long haul, an interminable war that will last for years and years, bleeding our economy and crushing our spirits.